Sometimes it is almost impossible for me to hear God clearly and this is one of those times. There are things I WANT Him to say and things I don’t want Him to say and that causes me to doubt what I hear regardless of what it is.
I don’t hear God with my ears. When He talks to me He simply inserts His words into my mind. They sound just like my own thoughts and there is usually no way to tell if they really ARE my own thoughts or if they are from God.
Sometimes I have no doubt they are from God because they are thoughts I just know would never have occurred to me like the time God asked me if I was trying to win a soul or an argument. That was the first time in my life I had ever questioned my own motives and the question shocked me to my core. I had no doubt at all it did not come from me. My own thoughts, at the time, were all about how people were misunderstanding me and picking on me and how even when I was right people would accuse me of being wrong. The question definitely did not come from me. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to be seeking insight into my own motives and I had never, not once in my entire life before that day, ever questioned my own motives or tried to see any point of view apart from my own.
This is different. Any of the thoughts I am having now could easily come from me so I can’t be sure God is talking to me at all let alone what He might be saying if, in fact, He is saying anything.
It doesn’t help that my emotions keep swinging from one extreme to another.
One minute I am filled with calm acceptance and have no questions at all for God and no need to hear from Him. The next minute I am filled with frustration over not knowing anything for sure and I want God to tell me if I do have cancer, if I should have the surgery, and if having the surgery will solve the problem or cause more problems for me.
I don’t want to have surgery!
I don’t trust the surgeon and I don’t trust my luck because bad things happen to me that don’t happen to other people! I am able to see good reasons why the bad things happened to me in the past and I do not regret having gone through them now but I have no desire to go through any more bad experiences if I can possibly help it!
I have no doubt at all that I could end up a lot worse off if I have surgery than if I have cancer and I just let it take its course!
I want God to tell me that I don’t have to have surgery.
I want Him to tell me if it is cancer or not.
I want Him to say, if it is cancer, that it will kill me quickly without too much suffering or that He will cure me of it if I wait a while.
I want Him to say, if it is not cancer, that it will go away on its own if I just give it some time or that He will cure it for me.
He has cured me of chronic illnesses in the past. I know He could cure me of this although I would never ask Him to because I have no doubt I did this to myself.
I’m not one of those people who can say they don’t deserve to get cancer. I do deserve to get it. I have abused my body with 50 cigarettes a day, 4 litres of diet coke a day, junk food by the truckload and no exercise and I have done this for many years. If that isn’t asking for cancer I don’t know what is. I can’t ask God to cure me because, not only have I been asking for it, I currently have no intention of changing my ways! I don’t plan to quit smoking or drinking diet coke so I don’t have any right to even ask God to help me!
I think God is trying to tell me that I do have cancer, that I do have to have surgery, and that I should just trust Him.
I also think it is entirely possible all of those statements are generated by my own fears or hopes and they are not coming from God at all.
The good news is that God has other ways to communicate with me when the direct line breaks down.
Like a good shepherd with wayward sheep God herds me in the direction He wants me to go and He seems to be herding me in the direction of surgery.
After I wrote the last blog entry I made up my mind to wait and see what happens instead of having surgery. I decided I would call the hospital and defer surgery when they set a date for it. Later on I got into bed and felt like I was choking which was very distressing and which made me question that decision. Once again I found myself undecided.
Another few days passed with me wavering between having the surgery and refusing to have surgery but I didn’t have the same choking experience again when trying to sleep which allowed me to drift back to my previous position.
Two nights ago I went through the pro’s and con’s of the situation.
What’s the worst thing that can happen if I decide not to have surgery?
The cough could get so bad I won’t be able to work, I could give cancer time to progress to an incurable stage, I could end up being choked to death if the lump keeps growing bigger.
What’s the best thing that can happen if I decide not to have surgery?
My body will heal itself or God will heal it for me and the surgery will turn out to have been completely unnecessary or the lump will stop growing and things will stay as they are right now which I could handle.
If it isn’t cancer and the cough interferes with me working or the lump does get big enough to make me feel like I am choking I can always change my mind and have the surgery then with no harm done.
If it is cancer, and the delay gives it time to progress to a stage where it can’t be cured, I will get to go home to Heaven sooner rather than later which is what I have wanted most of my life! No harm done there either as far as I’m concerned!
What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do have the surgery?
The surgeon will damage the nerves controlling my vocal chords and destroy the four glands that control calcium in the body.
If the nerves to the vocal chords are damaged the chords will be paralyzed. If they are paralyzed they will block my airway and I will not be able to breathe or talk. They will have to perform a tracheotomy and insert a permanent opening into my neck to allow me to breathe. I will not be able to work again because I will not be able to talk normally. I have no doubt there will be all sorts of issues around caring for the artificial airway too or that there will be other problems such as the body playing up on me as it tries to reject the foreign object.
If the four glands controlling calcium are destroyed I will have to take medication to replace them for the rest of my life but, even then, my chances of developing bone problems such as arthritis and osteo will be higher.
I will also have to take medication to replace my thyroid gland and, according to some people who have had this operation, getting the dosage right is a nightmare and it never happens at all for some people leaving them with multiple symptoms that make their lives pure misery.
What’s the best thing that can happen if I do have the surgery?
The operation will be a success, nothing will go wrong, the problem will be solved and I will feel better than I have in a long time because all my health troubles will turn out to have been caused by the thyroid. They will get the dosages right and all will be well.
If the bad things happen there is no way back. These are things that cannot be undone. If these things happen to me my life goes from bearable to unbearable in the blink of an eye and who knows how many years I will have in which to regret having had the surgery?
The chances of all my health issues being caused by a faulty thyroid are pretty slim so it is highly unlikely that the best outcome is even remotely possible. It is more likely that the best outcome would be successful surgery that leaves me with function in both the thyroid and calcium glands so life wouldn’t change much apart from having a scar on my throat.
People keep talking about the percentages and that’s all well and good but someone has to be one of the minute percentage who end up with the worst case outcome. I could be that someone and it won’t seem like nothing to worry about then! It will seem like something I should have taken seriously and given a lot of thought to if it happens!
Even without the worst case there are still a lot of reasons to avoid surgery if you can. Bleeding, infections, bad reactions to the operation whilst on the table or bad reactions afterwards and so on. Surgery should always be the last option not the first one! The only reason they are making surgery the first option in my case is because I might have cancer and any delay just gives cancer time to get to the lethal stage. Most people don’t want that to happen but I really don’t mind if it does so it is not a compelling enough reason for me to agree that surgery is the best option right now. The lump is so big that, if it is cancer, I am sure it has already spread and can’t be cured anyway.
After thinking it all through I came to the conclusion the best thing I could do is refuse to have surgery until life with the thyroid condition becomes so awful that surgery seems like a good idea in spite of the risks. If I discover at that point that it is cancer and it is too late to cure it I will be happy to settle for palliative care that reduces my discomfort whilst I am waiting to die.
Once I made the decision I was happier. I decided to try and accept not knowing if it is cancer or not and just wait and see what happens.
What happened was I went to bed and suffered through an experience I never want to go through again!
I lay down on my left side, the lump is on the right side of my neck, and it felt like the lump had grown in size and weight and was pressing down hard on my airway so it was choking me.
If you want to know how it felt lie down and get someone to press their thumb down hard on the side of your neck until they compress your windpipe.
I started coughing and struggling to breathe so I rolled over to my other side but then it just felt like the lump was pushing up instead of down. I continued to cough and choke so I got up. I had a drink of water and tried to swallow the lump I could feel in my throat. Once I felt it had gone I tried sleeping again but the same thing happened. I tried everything. Lying on my side, back, stomach, with pillows, without pillows, putting my arms and shoulders behind me or stretching them out in front of me, tilting my head up as far as it could go and so on.
I got up a few times to try and settle it before trying to sleep again but nothing fixed it and I continued to suffer. It got worse and worse until it wasn’t even helping to get up as my throat had gotten dry and scratchy and I couldn’t swallow the lump at all any more.
In the end I finally remembered the last time this happened, although it was not even near as bad as this time, it had happened after I had made the decision to delay surgery. This time I had made the decision not to have surgery at all. I wondered if this was happening because God was trying to get my attention.
I got up again, sipped some more water, tried again to swallow the lump and get my throat to settle down, which didn’t work, then I spoke to God.
“Are you doing this?” – I asked.
“Yes” – I thought He replied.
“Are you trying to tell me you want me to have the surgery?” I asked.
“Yes” – I thought he answered.
“All right,” I said, “if this is you and you do want me to have the surgery then stop this right now and let me get some sleep. If I have no further problems when I go back to bed I will assume it is your will that I have the surgery and I will do as you wish.”
I went back to bed, lay on my left side, discovered I was feeling no discomfort at all any more, and went straight to sleep. There has been no repeat and I have had several naps and lie downs since then.
I’m a psychologist so I know the power of the mind over our bodies. I know it is possible some subconscious part of me wants to live and it has done this to me to persuade me to have the surgery just in case it is cancer.
If it is my subconscious in action it is a part of me that is so deeply buried I had no idea it even existed and I can’t help wondering why it would act so fast when there is no question of surgery for months yet.
I don’t even have an appointment to have surgery and I was told it won’t happen at all this year. I was told it will be January at the earliest and more likely February or later before they will be able to fit me in.
I’m not expecting to even hear from them until next year so the final decision is not going to be possible before then. Why would my subconscious put me through such a horrid experience now? Why not wait until a bit closer to the time?
I know this could have all just been my own imagination but, just in case it is God, I have to do what I think He wants. If it is my subconscious then, clearly, I probably should do what it wants too if it wants to live so badly it will play such an unpleasant trick on me.
I spoke to God again.
“I think this is you Lord and, just in case it is, I will do as you wish but I am well aware this might not be you. If you feel like confirming this was you then how about letting the letter notifying me of when the surgery has been scheduled for come within the next week? Just a thought. You don’t have to as I will have the surgery anyway but it would be nice to be 100 percent certain this really is your will in case the worst that can happen does happen. I can handle the worst if I know it, too, is your will. It will be a lot harder to handle if it happens because my subconscious tricked me into thinking it was your will!”
It is Sunday now. I don’t really expect to get a letter from the hospital next week but I sure am hoping for one.